Irish Republican News · August 13, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
No relief from marching season

Clashes erupted in Derry today [Saturday] following a sectarian parade by the loyalist Apprentice Boys’ organisation, one of the largest of the Protestant marching season.

The trouble broke out in the republican Bogside area, where two separate protests by nationalists were taking place.

The annual ‘Relief of Derry’ parade commemorates a victory by Protestant forces in a 17th century battle at the walled medieval city. Up to 10,000 ApprenticeBoys took part in today’s march, which passed through the city centre Diamond area.

The Republican Network for Unity organised a rally at Free Derry Corner in the Bogside to protest against the march, while a 48-hour vigil in support of republican prisoners was also taking place at the same location.

Despite taking place every August through the heart of the predominately nationalist city, an intensive talks process involving local business interests and the Apprentice Boys’ organisation has meant that the march has passed off with relatively little trouble in recent years.

Nevertheless, thousands of residents are normally forced to abandon Derry for the weekend while the city centre is brought to a standstill.

Trouble broke out this afternoon when a convoy of armoured PSNI vehicles descended on the Bogside, for reasons which remain unclear.

Youths threw petrol bombs at the PSNI vehicles, while a burning car blocked one of the access roads into the Bogside. There was also a report of a pipe bomb being at the PSNI convoy before it withdrew.

The situation in the Bogside is described as quiet this evening.


Meanwhile, residents of Rasharkin are angry at a decision not to ban a highly contentious loyalist parade from the main street of the County Antrim village.

The annual provocative parade through the overwhelmingly nationalist village has seen increasing tension in recent years.

The Parades Commission has ruled that the march, organised by the provocative loyalist group, the ‘Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors’, can go ahead through the village’s Main Street next Friday evening.

Sinn Fein assembly member Daithi McKay said the parade was “disproportionate” to the size of Rasharkin.

“There are no restrictions on numbers,” he said. “There will be 44 bands and 1,500 bandsmen and bandswomen and probably a couple of thousand supporters.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News